Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Dinos and World Systems Theory

In the World Systems Theory of political economy, the sociologist Immanuel Wallerstien claims that capitalism evolved coincidentally with the decline of feudalism, it did not suddenly replace that political economic system but rather evolved out of it. It was not the only political economic system evolving at the time but the one that became dominate.

This can be proven with a simple example, a robber baron newspaper owner who sells his national citizenship in order to buy a lordship from Baronial Britain. Here we have someone who is a capitalist aspiring to the titles and honorifics of the old feudal order.

Now we find the same thing happened with proto-dinosaurs and their later dinosaur relatives. The dinos did not wipe out their earlier relatives but co existed with them. Much like the remnants of feudalism, Lords, Queens and Kings, autarchies, exist today under capitalism.,

UC Berkeley scientists, digging deep into a remote New Mexico hillside, have discovered a trove of fossil bones that they say is evidence that dinosaurs and their early relatives lived side by side for tens of millions of years before the relatives slowly died off and left the dinosaurs to dominate the ancient world.

Until now many scientists had thought that dinosaur "precursors" -- perhaps their ancestors -- disappeared suddenly long before the dinosaurs themselves rose to prominence, but the bones dug up by Berkeley paleontologists show evidence of a different story.

The discovery of a wide variety of creatures all mingled together in layer upon layer of rocks dating from Earth's late Triassic period between 235 million and 200 million years ago, they say, shows that the strange relatives of the dinosaurs remained on the scene while the dinosaurs evolved into truly dominant creatures during the Jurassic period, between 120 million and 200 million years ago.

Until now, many scientists have argued that the early close relatives of dinosaurs must have disappeared abruptly in an early "mass extinction" about 215 million years ago that has never been clearly explained. Others have thought that the true dinosaurs, whether carnivores or plant eaters, simply outcompeted their relatives for dominance in the ancient environment and quickly drove them to extinction.

And after all economists call themselves scientists. Of course like its prehistoric ancestor Capitalism itself is a dinosaur. And those who believe that Capitalism is, was, and will always be eternal are to political economy what creationists are to paleontology.


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